A History of Broadway Guitars
Broadway Plectric 1921 & 1922 (1962-63)
2nd Generation models without vibrato
The 2nd generation of Broadway guitars made by Guyatone emerged around late 1962 and into 1963. The Broadway Plectric 1921 again formed the single pickup version, with the Broadway Plectric 1922 being the two pickup model, with additional switching for solo and rhythm playing.
Whilst the overall guitar body shape remained the same as the earlier models, with the same catalogue number, the difference was in the pickups used. No longer were these the characteristic Guyatone ‘oversized’ oval shapes, made familiar on their 1st generation Plectric series. Instead the pickups were smaller, without the chrome pickup surrounds. This guitar was still very much a beginner guitar for budding UK musicians!
Another noticeable difference was in the headstock logo, which gradually changed from white to black plastic on many 2nd generation Plectric models. In fact, late 1963 models were given a stencil headstock previously used on the Broadway budget range, presumably to cut down on production costs.
The volume and tones knobs fitted to both the one and two pickup models of the 2nd generation Plectric 1921 and 1922 vary considerably. Most common is the black plastic with chrome inserts, as shown in the photograph of the pre-loaded scratchplate. Other knobs found include chrome plate brass, with a knurled edge, similar to those found on a Fender Telecaster.
The Broadway Plectric 1921 and the Broadway Plectric 1922 had a number of significant changes made to it, which was almost certainly due to the gradual change of Guyatone as a supplier. Whilst Guyatone were quick to address the emergent interest in electric guitars in the late 1950s and particularly the early '60s, other brands had quickly followed suit and competition was fierce. As result, Guyatone gradually outsourced some of their production. Whilst the bodies were continued to be made in Japan, the electrics were handled by none other than Henry Weill in his London-based factory. He sourced the pickups, installed the circuitry and assembled them to the pre-loaded scratchplates, ready for distribution.
Henry Weill clearly sourced parts, initially from the Guyatone factory and then wherever else he could, so the consistency of pickups, the pickup covers, circuitry and control knobs is increasingly variable throughout the last years of the Broadway Plectric production.
The Broadway Plectric 1921 was my first guitar, which I had as a present in 1963. My first attempt at playing it was recorded on an old Grundig reel-to-reel tape (long since lost!) and photographed (seen in the photo on the left).
It was actually a good guitar; it played well up and down the neck, with a good action. Like most Broadways, the fret wires were rough and slightly protruded over the fingerboard in places but my father sorted that out! As with most teenagers with a beginner model, it taught me the basics of guitar playing, before I was able to progress onto (and afford) something better. I still owned the guitar in 1970 (when the photo below was taken) and used it in a couple of bands, until I finally parted company with it in 1979.
The Broadway Plectric 1921 had a volume and tone control knob, whilst the Plectric 1922 had a tone and two volume controls, with rhythm and solo controls for each pickup. Both the 1921 and 1922 had 'pre-loaded scratchplates, in other words, the whole scratchplate came with pickups, controls and circuitry. The guitar was fitted with a mono 3.5mm 'mini-jack', which requires conversion to accept modern, standard 1/4" jack leads. The guitar's bridge is a rather primitive affair; a two-piece metal saddle bridge, with two thumb wheels to raise or lower the string height. The guitar's intonation was adjusted by moving the bridge up or down the guitar's body, until the correct string length was found.
Strings were attached by theior barrel ends into a chrome plate, screwed into the guitar's body. Although resembling the Fender Telecaster, the strings on the Broadway Plectric never passed through the guitar. The whole assembly was concealed by a removable chrome cover. This cover is frequently missing from Broadway guitars available on the second hand market. At the time, many found an alternate use as a convenient ashtray for the smoking musician!
The photo (below) and (below left) were contributed by Paul from Macclesfield. The Plectric 1922 belonged to his father-in-law, who purchased it for "around £15" in the '60s, along with the original case and a 'Broadway Made in England' leather guitar strap. The photos were taken before the guitar was sold on eBay for £105. The new buyer immediately re-sold this for £190 in February 2012.
Another Plectric 1922 had reached £139 in October 2011 and another failed to reach a reserve of £175 in February 2013.
Broadway Plectric 1921 from Down Under
Given the configurations of tone available on the two pickup models, it's hardly surprising that many people opted for the simple one pickup Plectric 1921, with a single volume and tone control for the neck only pickup and a limited sound palette.
However, this beautiful, pristine version is the guitar belonging to Dean Jiggings, of Port Willunga, South Australia, who emailed with the above photo. Dean acquired this 2nd generation model from a neighbour, along with a Broadway amp in 1981. As the amp started 'smoking', it was discarded. That was before Dean's move to Oz in 2008. The guitar was largely unplayed but it's now been nicely set up by a guitar tech and periodically played by Dean's son. Many thanks to Dean for the photo.